Blog

Pray that the Coffee Break trainers and leaders in Australia would be encouraged as they continue their ministry, and that their excitement for evangelism would grow as they lead their groups in studying the Bible and stepping into deeper relationships with our Lord.

May 11, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

Grace Paek has been training Coffee Break trainers in Korean for twelve years, but this year she led a training that looked a little different. 

December 12, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Last week brand new Coffee Break groups began in Cape Town, South Africa. Despite facing challenges such as finances, the young leaders are eager to dive into Bible study with their groups!

October 31, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

As Coffee Break groups spring up across the globe, the most frequent request is for new translations of Discover Your Bible studies. Learn how a recent Hindi translation is leading to workshops in India!

October 27, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Rho Hee Suk is a missionary to Hukuoka, Japan and first heard about Coffee Break from friend. Now, she rejoices as she sees people come to Christ through their participation in Coffee Break.

February 25, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Coffee Break Bible discovery groups have impact reaching from Grand Rapids to Nepal. Learn about the leadership events taking place to develop local and global leaders. 

January 4, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Newsletter or Periodical

Coffee Break is both global and local. Check out the Christmas 2015 newsletter for ways you can help your neighbors near and far!

December 17, 2015 1 0 comments
Resource, Story or Testimony

60 people attended Coffee Break training in Indonesia on Saturday, June 27. Participants found Coffee Break tools appropriate and useful for building small groups in their churches!

August 4, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Shinsil believes creating a safe place is so important that twice a year she asks group members to raise their right hand and pledge to keep the ground rules—which includes confidentiality.

July 7, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

When they arrived in India, they discovered that many of the missionaries were discouraged. It is often difficult on the frontier of ministry. Find out how Coffee Break brought encouragement and renewed focus! 

July 3, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

The Korean Coffee Break conference in Southern California is being attended by Coffee Break leaders from many interesting places! This post features Coffee Break leaders in Mexico. 

July 2, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Why does Coffee Break work across multiple cultures? The answer seems to be the twofold approach of relationships and direct Bible study. How can these simple ideas be applied in your setting?

May 23, 2015 1 1 comments
RSS

Hi Meredith, Have you found your ride? If not, I would like to help! Could you email, I have a couple of questions for you. Here's my email:  shuizenga@crcna.org

I am a Coffee Break Co-ordinator from Neerlandia Alberta and have registered for Inspire.  I would like to fly to London (direct - as there is no direct flight to detriot from edmonton.)  I am wondering if there are any women from London going to inspire that would consider giving me a ride.

Meredith Van Dijk

Hi Diane! Brookside CRC is in Grand Rapids, MI. Here's a link to the church website. Thanks! 

Where is Brookside CRC located?

 

Great idea! 

Another church paired younger people with seniors to write their stories. Each month they discussed a different decade. Someone researched the big events, politics and music of the decade to prime the pump. After the short presentation the senior answered some interview questions. They ended with an event where the stories were presented to families. 

Keep the ideas coming!

 

    Learning on-line together can take shape in many forms . This article was mostly geared to coffee Break, but in our church we are encouraging people to participate in the  Fellowhip 1 program  and also" In Fellowship."

   Especially participation in this program for older people it seems to be a threat e.g. loosing identity. There is another aspect....

. Many seniors (if they do have a computer)  are not familiar how to use certain products.,and terms, all they want is being able to e-mail their relatives

  That's why I would be a promoter to take a few young people and assign them to a few seniors not only to show and do it for them, but to genuinely show interest by encouraging them and teaching them !

The senior can make a cup of tea and listen to the interest of the student/teacher and vice versa theecipient can grow from the wisdom of the elderly and lavish them  them with a visit in their often lonely  existence!

 

A win/win situation!

 

Penny Tolsma,

Member of Fleetwood CRC

Love the materials available. have used them in prisons for 16 years with great success.

Prison is my men's group and Bible study all in one.

 That is a very sweet story.

What a beautiful story.

Well, I suppose I'm most interested in how people are approaching Story Hour/Little Lambs. We have all the curriculum, but I have a hard time really using more than a general outline because I tend to find it a bit dated. I was wondering if anyone had any different ideas or ways that they're incorporating the actual curriculum or if other people are doing something similar to the way I've been doing it. Also, how do other people recruit volunteers to help?

I guess I don't really have anything specific about Coffee Break itself, though I am interested in what people might do if groups start to get too big (and how many people leaders typically have in their groups) and the groups have existed for a while so people have become attached...

The Winter Coffee Break Newsletter will feature some innovations. You will find the articles on this Network site. Stay tuned. 

What kinds of new ideas are you hoping to hear about?

though anything would be interesting really 

Just wondering if there have been any thoughts on any of this? Most specifically story hour/little lambs...

Thanks for great words of encouragement!

I really should have mentioned that we have some great Story Hour material to use.  We need to give a lot of credit to the author of it because without if we would be pretty lost.  Sometimes we simplify things in order to fit everything in our morning, but the material is a fantastic resource -- the Bible story, crafts, songs, etc.  Thanks to all who make it possible and the support we get in reaching lives for Jesus.

Rosie

 

In my small group, we usually begin with snacks (yum!) and small talk. Before jumping into the Bible study (which is currently follow-up questions based on the sermon), we take a moment to first check who was able to be at church/listen to the sermon. For those who missed the message, we give a quick overview and usually read the Bible verses that the sermon was based on.  

In the past, we started each group with a great joke!

 

Getting church-goers to become engaged in scripture. What a novel idea.

One might start by removing all of the Bibles from the church pews. Have folks bring their own to worship that they can mark up and wear out. Smart phones will finally have a place in worship as parishioners -- especially young people -- become exposed to their favorite Bible app.

We as Reformed Christians have become lazy when it comes to opening up scripture. We've been conditioned to depend on the pew Bible, and that -- sad to say -- if often the only exposure that we have to scripture through the course of the week. We need to get trained to actually choose our favorite Bible translation and then take it with us to worship, to Small Groups, to work, wherever.

Biblical engagement is a huge issue within our churches, simply because we haven't grown up with the need to have an intimate relationship with our very own Bible. Without that intimate relationship, how can we expect to have meaningful small group discussions around biblical content?

 

 

 

I am using Seeking God's Face for the third year, and I love it!  The scriptures are so effectively related to the beautiful prayers which also refer to one of our creeds or confessions. I use Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions, also available from Faith Alive, as a companion to Seeking God's Face. It's made me more aware of all that's in our confessions and creeds, some of which I haven't reviewed since high school catechism classes. I highly recommend use of both books for personal devotions. 

I wonder if the under 35's are wanting to come back to a simpler, real experience of church based on conversations and relationships rather than video based materials.

 

In my setting, I'd say we need to be informal and conversational. Being curious about the Word together leads to remarkable discoveries and conversations about them. I'd also say that it's important to meet consistently and agree to being accountable to one another.

I'm so glad we get to make us of helpful technology to do Coffee Break training. As one of the presenters I'm wondering, "What questions would you like to have addressed on these webinars?"

My guess is they are at work - a quick search of the coffee breaks in Grand Rapids lists the meeting times as weekday mornings.

Our group has asked to meet thru the whole summer!  They are a group of ladies with no church home, except the occasional visit on Sunday morning to our church.  But they LOVE Coffee Break, and want to continue.  These ideas are great for us, as it suggests more informal settings and unless it rains, the outside sounds like a great idea.  Thanks for the article.  JLL

posted in: Watering Your Group

Thanks Bonnie. That's the idea behind clusters - we are not doing our work alone. There is strength and synergy when we work together. amen!

Hi all. It's easy to post an idea or question. Join the conversation!

posted in: Watering Your Group

There is another organization using the word "cluster" that also is working to connect churches on the East Coast and elsewhere. It's an ecumenical movement to end child sexual abuse and it arises out of the work of Linda Crockett and the Samaritan Safe Church initiative. It started in Pennsylvania (after the Penn State scandal) and is now spreading to other areas as well. Many churches are joining this movement of those who are taking a stand against child sexual abuse. Current research says that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18. Many believe that it's time to stand up and say, this is NOT OK! The idea behind the "cluster" is that we are not called to do our work alone; there is a strength and a synergy that is only possible when we partner with others, whether it's other CRC congregations, or other Christians, or others with a similar vision. We're stronger in "clusters" whether it's to end child sexual abuse, strengthen congregations, or become effective coffee break leaders. If you'd like more information about the Samaritan Safe Church movement - please contact Safe Church Ministry; maybe there is a "cluster" in your area.

Hey, Sam, this looks really good.  Go you!  You've got a good thing going and I like it that you are keeping it fresh.  Keep your faithful followers posted on developments!   Thanks for your work on this.

posted in: Big News!

Our church has also experienced the struggle with study material for Coffee Break and small groups.  People don't want to put anything INTO the process, they want to come and receive the information because they're too busy to study at home.  But I found that the times I've learned the most is when I was the leader - I HAD to put into the group in order to receive.  If we put into, we receive, and our faith grows.  

This sounds terrific, Keith! My brother is a CRC pastor in Toronto and meets with a group of business people for a lunchtime discussion. I don't know what materials he uses, but I believe the concept is the same. I'll have to get more details from him. But there's one CRC example anyway. :) 

I will try to learn more about the CCBF network and curriculum. 

Thanks!

Hundreds of Christian business leaders -- men and women -- meet monthly across Canada in small groups over breakfast.

They meet to connect their faith to their vocation. The Canadian Christian Business Federation (CCBF) is a 30-year-old network involving almost 4,000 Christians across Canada. It has deep Reformed roots but it has developed into a wonderful ecumenical gathering of Christians who deal with business issues from a biblical perspective. This isn't Bible study; it's leadership development but it is solidly biblical. The foundation for these monthly breakfast discussions -- and there are 35 groups across the country -- is the NIV Leadership Study Bible.

There is a five-year curriculum, dealing with everything from integrity and obedience to God to stress management, courage and risk-taking, communication skills and problem solving.

Among the participants are men and women involved in business, more than a dozen Christian non-profits and a half dozen Christian colleges and universities who connect their business students with business leaders.

A growing number of churches are creating their own CCBF groups, recognizing that the church does very little to provide faith support for their members who are in business or the professions. Interestingly, almost all of these churches are evangelical, Pentecostal or Assembly of God. There isn't a CRC among them, even though the discussion materials focus on the very Reformed notion that 'everything belongs to God' and that 'if you're in business, you're in ministry'.

Just as there are Coffee Break groups for women, I would love to see even one CRC consider creating a small group for the men and women in their congregation who are involved in business or the professions.

While I embrace the notion that we need to have more small groups that deal with Bible study, we also need to have small groups that practically apply those biblical principles to the challenges facing the Christian business community: How do you balance your corporate long range plan with the will of God? How do you handle power and influence? If all that we have belongs to God, isn't tithing robbing God of the other 90 per cent?

Keith Knight

Executive Director

Canadian Christian Business Federation

This is, I think, a tough issue. I agree, and I think we all would agree, that we need more engagement with the Bible. I've been participating in small groups for many years, and I still find it difficult to stick to Bible study with a group (and without, but that's a different topic!). 

One common challenge I find over and over is your bullet point "Group members come prepared to participate." Even with the best of intentions, people just have a hard time doing the preparation needed - reading the material before the meeting, or filling in answers to questions, etc. It just doesn't happen! When I have seen at least some success with Bible study in a group, it's been with books or guides that can work with having people "read" the material at the meetings. Either the material is very brief and able to be read aloud together at each meeting, or the leader has prepared ahead by finding key passages for the group to read together, enough to facilitate discussion. Like it or not, that's been the reality over and over.

Today I read a quote from John Suk's Twitter feed where he said, "People look for community before they set off on a search for God." It made me think of a recent decision I had made regarding the small group I am leading. Right now I have a lot of other commitments at our church and Christian school. I found myself really dreading the preparation I'd have to do for leading our small group Bible study, so I changed the format to be only a social/community format. We meet for coffee and dessert and share and prayer. At a later point I'll probably go back to including Bible study, but for right now this gives us a community of supportive, caring fellow believers.

I would not call it pure Bible study, but I have seen some success in a kind of theological book club that I was a member of. All of us find theological books interesting, and we had a book club where we read only those. Now that worked all right. And it speaks to another of your bullet points, "Group members understand the purpose of the group is Bible discovery. Relationship building and support will take place but are not the primary purpose." We were there to discuss books we read; it was not a small group or community in the sense that we would often think of them.

These are some random thoughts of mine. I would be interested to hear what others have to say and have experienced, too.

It's been almost two years since my last post on leading an ESL Bible Study. In some ways a lot has changed since then, and in other ways, nothing has changed.

What hasn't changed is that God continues to bless our church with Korean sisters who have a real hunger for God's Word. Year after year I wonder if the group will carry on because so often the women return to Korea with their children after a year of English studies. But without fail, new women join, and it has been an absolute joy and privilege to be a part of their faith journey.

What has changed is that I no longer seek curriculum in leading our Wednesday morning studies. Reading my previous posts, I'm reminded how much of a time consuming effort it was to prepare. Since then, I've learned to "let go" of the lessons and allow them to lead themselves. When it's clear that another season of Bible study is before me, God shows me a vision of sorts of what the road is going to be; what Spiritual truths we're going to be learning in the coming months. I can see both the beginning of the journey as well as the goal. Then, week by week, I sit down behind my computer and type up the scripture verses and deeper questions that will channel our discussions towards the finishing line. Each week the lessons write themselves, and I choose a song that we read through and listen to to accompany the lesson in order to drive the point home.

It's not like me to just sit back and watch things unfold without me being tempted to help the Spirit along, but God has taught me these past two years that He is very capable in leading these women to the foot of the cross.

As always, it would be wonderful if there were more opportunities to encourage one another as ESL leaders. Perhaps having a session for ESL leaders at the Diaconal "Day of Encourgement" in October could be considered.

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

Thanks for continuing the conversation, Irene. I went to the Cooperative web-site you mentioned. I had no idea there was already a network in place. While reading through some of the listed resources, I was reminded that what one teaches in the classroom and how one teaches it really has to do with the learners that show up that day. As much as I would like to come up with a "one size fits all" curriculum, the reality is that with all the different language levels, cultural backgrounds, and religions represented in an ESL Bible Study group, there is no curiculum that is going to be the perfect fit. I see my lesson writing as being the gospel of Jesus Christ at an organic level, and then adapting according the learners who happen to be sitting across from me. My lessons speak to the "middle", and then I supplement for those who wish to dig deeper, but also allow time and translation/explanation for those who are slower to understand. I've never regretted the work necessary to be 'all things to all people', but some days I wish there was an easier way. I trust it will all come together in time.

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

Carla,
I share many of your thoughts and passions. I too am a teacher and find that this background enables me to adapt curricum easily. I have my eye on adapting a particular curriculum into one that presents the story of salvation in 5 lessons. As you have said, "it's not hard, just time consuming." Maybe through the network we could develop a team and come up with material that others could also use.

I encourage you to google "southern Ontario cooperative of ESL ministries." There you will find many resources, including the Alpha ESOL material.

If you want more know about the "immigrant ministry conference" that Hebron CRC is hosting on the evening of April 27 and all day, april 28 th, please contact Joey at ajbuwalda@rogers.com. Cost is only $25. The facilitator is Marion Chang of the SOuthern Ontario coop of ESL ministries.

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

I have been leading an ESL Coffee Break group at Ancaster Meadowlands Fellowship CRC for three years now. The Coffee Break component has nothing to do with the material we're using and everything to do with fellowship and community. I use ESL Bible Study materials, but we commune with the non-ESL C.B. women first over coffee, baked goods, singing, and devotions. After the opening time together, we break off into our own Bible study groups. I find the partnership between the ESL learners and the church women to be very important, and meaningful relationships have been formed. The biggest challenge is modifying the material I use. It's not hard, just time consuming. Irene, you are right on about supplementing the lessons with visuals, etc.. This is a must in an ESL setting. I'm also very interested in this training by the ESL Ministries you mentioned. I've never heard of such a ministry. Perhaps I will have to look into the training, although I am a certified ESL teacher. I'm sure there's always something new to learn. In the meantime, I want to work on writing a basic ESL bible study that includes supplement ideas, with the focus not only on ESL learners, but inner-city/low-literacy learners. Wouldn't it be great if there was curriculum that could bring the gospel of Christ to those who need it most but can't receive it because of language/learning barriers? There is a huge need for this in Hamilton. If there's curriculum out there that falls into this category already, let me know.  

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

The Hebron CRC in Whitby, Ontario has a Coffeebreak group for newcomers to Canada. First God brought together two facilitators with a vision for this ministry. They prayed and God brought the women. We like using the Coffeebreak inductive Bible studies because it encourages us to find the answers right in the Scriptures. We tailor the lesson according to the needs of the group and find that supplementing with visuals is very helpful. E.g. Writing the answers on the board, showing video clips of the Bible stories. The women feel safe and share prayer requests. Leading an unbeliever through the prayer of commitment found in the study guides is a rewarding privilege. We are like other Coffeebreak groups except that we cover the material more slowly because of the language barriers.

We have found the training offered by the Southern Ontario Cooperative of ESL Ministries helpful and have invited one of their trainers to lead ESL training workshops at Hebron Church in Whitby on April 27&28, 2012. Contact the church for more information.

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

Marian, did you happen to catch the Global Coffee Break article in the February Banner? http://www.thebanner.org/church-at-work/article/?id=3965 Before I started researching this article, I had no idea about the global impact Coffee Break was having and the various languages in which the materials were available. 

Another ESL or ELL resource is available through ReFrame Media, the English outreach of Back to God Ministries International: Spotlight English Clubs. http://www.spotlightradio.net/sec/ These are great easy-to-implement materials for outreach. Your quote "They came to the church to learn English; they met Jesus in the process!" is one that perfectly fits the Spotlight outreach. 

Here are a couple of links to stories about how churches/individuals are using Spotlight to connect with ELL people in their communities. http://backtogod.net/global_impact/go-where-the-people-are  and http://backtogod.net/global_impact/a-new-community

posted in: ESL Coffee Break

Hi Neil,

Have you checked the Faith Alive website?  They are the publisher of the Discover Your Bible material that Coffee Break uses.  

http://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/CategoryCenter.aspx?categoryId=ADDB!NT 

I checked on line, and noticed that there is only one book of Mark, so perhaps it has been reformated.  If its not clear on the website, you can call the toll free number:  1-800-333-8300

I hope that is helpful for you.

Blessings,

Marian Lensink

I think you have hit it right on the bullseye..

I quote Richard Rohr " Finally all we have to give away is our own journey. Our own story. Then we become living witnesses. The only authority we have to other people's lives is what we ourselves have walked and what we know to be true."

To find ourselves we must first lose ourselves and let go of all preconceived ideas and see with fresh eyes..I have said for many years that the mentorship is the way to go, Being a child of an immigrant our parents pattered but not mentored.. We need now to mentor the younger ones and come alongside the older ones who now need us to be their ears and eyes hands and feet and encouragement.

But unless we lift the veil and reveal ourselves and dare to finally dare to be ourselves nothing will happen..
My heart is full of joy as I read your letter..Thank you for responding.. May God give you courage and insight as you go forth.. Ponder the name of the Lord..I am who I am  nothing more nothing less..It is all encompassing..So as I learn to be me and have removed the veil and share my life it is joy ..

What are my thoughts on women's ministry?

I have been co-director and director of coffee break for over 7 years and have stepped down and followed the Lord's nudging to release the women who attend to follow where the Lord is leading them..The women had at first a hard time realizing I would not continue and that coffee break was not continuing but releasing the women has birthed a new wednesday morning. Two women started "Connect" it is a drop in centre for women of all ages and from the community to come and have coffee and have the children play.. We now have women from al least 5 different countries drop by one Muslim lady from Iran and one muslim lady from Lebanon. We have 2 visiting Chinese professors come as well, and a spanish lady from colombia as well as Korean. They are for the most not chrisian.
The hard part for some is that we have been trained to right away preach Christ instead of first sharing who we are and our life..It is in the listening and conversation that you discover a relationship building then the trust and you become the living letter, Christ has already writien on our lives and the community will read it,,

Listen and you will discover, communicate your life and you will hear the other's life story, relate and you have church..

I just did a  speaking engagement in Salmon Arm up north for a women's retreat and taught the whole book of Esther in that retreat we lifted the veil and revealed our pains and sorrows and communed together and I and my friend got to love and learn and listen to these women there who too are seeking and asking the same questions..They needed encouragement and guidance and God provided wonderfully..

So here too I left this small town with the same question. We need a women's ministry team..
One women came to me at church and said I can't talk to a man but only to a woman.. This too left me thinking..Where is the ministry to women. How do we do this..

I think the journey has begun for you and me to sit with this to think on this and to live it..

Yours In Christ Marianne

Thanks Marianne,

It sounds like we share the same heart, recognizing that there is value in having ministry for women.  And yet, we need to embrace our changing culture in fresh ways.  In this new day, we see people less committed to programs or institutions, while hungering for relationship.  How do we do ministry in a new way, in these days?  We need to wrestle with this question, in our Women's ministry.

Regarding the workshop that I led at the Day of Encouragement, I think we just began to scratch the surface.  We talked about the need for all of us as leaders to be wholistic in our ministry - that God's Word needs to inform and shape us, as we engage community, while walking in the fellowship of believers.  We also talked about the need to be pouring into the next generation.

Perhaps the greatest thing that came out of the workshop was the recognition that we need to pour into the life of another.  For many women, there are opportunities to mentor other women, perhaps even somewhat informally.  We can identify someone who could be encouraged in their leadership, and simply offer to pray for them, and walk alongside them in their journey. Or we might intentionally walk alongside someone who is far from God - pray for them, initiate conversations that might go to spiritual things, etc.

Too often we have rested in the 'programs' of church, of which Coffee Break is one.  While I believe programs can be so helpful in discipleship, I also believe that if we're not doing this on a personal level, the programs begin to fall flat.  Jesus poured into the lives of his 12 disciples (his small group) and more intentionally into the life of 3.  So, who are your 12, and who are your 3? 

2 Tim. 2:2 demonstrates the need to continually pour into the life of others, through teaching.  It speaks for 4 generatioons of Christians.  Each one of us can read the passage, and see where we fit into the picture.  Am I passing on the faith, through my life rubbing onto the life of another?  Am I salt and light in my church, and my community? 

I have thought about having a forum as Marianne describes - gathering people together to wrestle through the question of women's ministry in today's changing culture. 

Please let me know - What are your thoughts about Women's Ministry in the current culture?

I hope to hear from you!

Blessings,

Marian

 

To marian: 

I would like an update on how your saturday went and if anything new came out of the discussion.

I truly believe that women's ministry or Ministry to women is a much broader then we think..It would be great to have a canada wide forum discussion with all women's ministry leaders or anyone who has insight into our changing world and challenge for all women of all cultures..

It has been on my heart for a while that some how we need a "Ministy to women" in a much broader sense..

Marianne

Hi Michelle,

Yes, you should definately be posting these questions - that's the idea!  We want this to be a place to share ideas and resources.

I connected with a Coffee Break group today, who shared a "giving" idea for Christmas.  In a couple of weeks, they will draw names for Christmas for a secret gift, but the gift is meant to be a gift of self.  They are not encouraging purchased gifts, but rather a gift of your talent or time.  Some suggestions shared were to make a gift (cards, knitting, baking, etc.) or to give the gift of time - offer babysitting, take someone out for coffee, visit someone.  Women were challenged to give a gift that flows out of who you are, rather than feeling the need to purchase a gift.  On their special Christmas celebration, they will give these gifts, and share together over coffee and treats.

Another thought might be to involve your women in a service project, for half the morning; finish with your brunch and social time.  Serving others will grow your heart! 
You might consider some of these ideas:
     - have everyone bring some personal care items for the homeless, and put them together in packages for a shelter
     - everyone can bring items for a baby shower for a local women's shelter - package them up and deliver
     - everyone is asked to bring home baking --> prepare packages wrapped in cellophane and deliver to the neighbours around your church
      - ask a community agency what they might need - see how you might assit them
      - sing carols in a nursing home

I'd love to hear more ideas from others!

Blessings,
Marian

Hi Michelle,

I am the coordinator for our Coffee Break ministry in Langley, BC, Canada.  I find it hard every year to come up with an idea for our year end socials too.  We do a Christmas one and another one at the end of the year in the spring.  We have done crafts of some kind in the past, but we found that most crafts took too much time (or money!)  We realized after a while that most of the women simply enjoyed being together and having time to fellowship.  Each week they comment on how they wished they had more time for this.  We do want the time to be more than just that though, so usually we ask the women to consider sharing what they learned from their book study this year and we are always encouraged by that.  We read the Christmas story, share a shorter devotional and eat (who doesn't like that part?!)

God bless you in your ministry.  I admire the fact that you are the director and a small group leader.  I only do one of those at a time!

Coffee Shops seem to hosts for small groups in many towns and cities.  And just like on Canadian Air Farce they meet regularly, share opinions freely, some times share feelings, and do a lot of encouragement.  Community- building small groups happen every day where the aroma of fresh coffee wafts over small tables and chairs.  In some of the coffee shop groups I have seen, I sense that is the only community available for some of the folks - especially the seniors.

Recently, my wifeand I were out for an intimate cappucino at our local coffee shop and an old fellow at the next table started chatting with us.  We found that he was a survivor of the second world war, a writer, a retired professor... and very lonely since his wife passed away.  What a lovely 20 minutes we spent together.

This morning I met with several people at the same coffee shop where we prayed and discussed a new Christian venture for the community of Guelph.  We had a great time together.

Community and Coffee Shops...  Small groups should be a natural!

I hope to start a group at Starbucks this fall!

Leadership training events are planned as needed in various regions where there are Ministry Developers available. We are also in the process of making the training more available through webinars and on-line resources. Please contact the office directly for further information about training: 1-888-644-0814 (Irene) or email smallgroups@crcna.org . In addition, you can also go to http://www.crcna.org/pages/crhm_reps.cfm to find the contact info for your local Ministry Developer.

Thanks Freda, for sharing about your Coffee Break ~ it sounds like things are going very well. Thanks for the renewed call to prayer, to God's Word, to the practice of meeting together, and to being open to God's Mission! May we all be encouraged to follow God's leading as Coffee Break continues to embrace the greater mission of God!

HI Marian
It's great to see a forum for Coffee Break! Coffee Break in the town of Brighton is a community oriented bible study, where women at all stages in their faith, from seekers to strong women of faith, from women in their 20's to women in their 80's, from pentecostal, to United to CRC to unchurched, come to a safe and loving place to learn and share and grow in their walk with the Lord.
We don't 'do' anything really different, what we do 'do' is pray and study together first of all as leaders. We study a different book each year and this year we read through 'Lead like Jesus' a wonderful book teaching us how to be servant leaders like Christ. We pray together as leaders prior to every session and are open to the Lord's leading and we try to lead like Jesus and serve in love. That is the strength of Coffee Break, women leading women to grow in their relationship with Christ.
In todays world women don't think they need each other, they think they can do it alone. When we finally do get together and share in a loving atmosphere of acceptance through Christ then great things happen. That is why Coffee Break is important. There are very few places today where women can get together and feel accepted, can share their concerns and can grow in their relationship with other women and with the Lord. The Holy Spirit does amazing things when we give Him room to work.
In Brighton, we intentionally focus on studying a book of the bible through the Discovery Bible studies, and this year have worked through Exodus. Who would have thought Exodus would have brought out so much discussion and heart to heart conversations.! We had an awesome year of learning God's character and faithfulness through the study of Exodus.
We also take time to invite community agencies such as Hospice and Samaritan's Purse to come and tell us what they do and then invite the women interested to participate in their organizations. So rather than the community coming in, we try to encourage our women to be part of the community.
The success of the Brighton Coffee Break however, is not in what we 'do' but rather in what the Lord does. For in the end its not us who brings the women, who transforms the women, who saves lives. All we can do is be the hands and feet of Jesus and show his love and tell His message.The rest is up to Him.

Members

this section to get email notifications of new posts
Lisa Cramer
Abby VanderMeulen